The new Ubuntu membership process

Rhys Davies

on 2 September 2021

Applying for Ubuntu membership just became a  lot easier. After a long discussion on Discourse, we’ve made the necessary changes to lower the technical barrier of entry to apply for Ubuntu membership. It’s now a simpler process with a focus on contribution, not on technical ability. In this post, I walk through the new process itself and talk about what it means to be an Ubuntu member.

How to apply for Ubuntu membership

These steps are relatively high-level (and hopefully intuitive), but if you need any additional help, please reply to the ‘Ubuntu member application process’ topic under the membership subcategory. You can read a longer and more detailed breakdown of this process on the wiki too, which includes both application processes for general membership.

Agree to the code of conduct

First things first:  you have to agree to abide by the Ubuntu code of conduct. If you don’t agree with it, then unfortunately you cannot become an Ubuntu member. Please make sure you read it, it’s not the normal T&Cs that everyone ignores. It is a commitment that you will be considerate, respectful, collaborative, and abide by the set structures and guides within the Ubuntu community to make it a safe, open, and ultimately enjoyable place to be.

New signing option

Regardless of which method you use, signing the code of conduct requires a Launchpad account. If, for any reason, you have not created a Launchpad account yet, create an account at the login page. Go to the CoC page, click to affirm, read through, check the box, and submit. Like this: 

Document your contributions

Head to the membership category on the Ubuntu Discourse. There you need to make a new topic titled “Your name | Membership Application”, and layout all of your contributions. The post should include: 

  1. A summary of your contributions to Ubuntu (no longer than 2-3 lines per item)
  2. A link to your Launchpad profile
  3. A complete description of your contributions to Ubuntu
  4. Your plans and ideas for Ubuntu in the future
  5. And any testimonials to support your application as comments on the thread.

To get testimonials for step five, ask friends/sponsors/colleagues/people in the community to comment on your post to support your application. Any of your ‘sponsors’ are also welcome to join the meeting (more on that next) with you to present their testimonials in real-time. 

Present your membership application

Finally, you need to present your application to the membership board. Don’t worry, the discourse post acts as the application material, the rest is a real-time interview on IRC. Ubuntu membership board meetings take place on Internet Relay Chat (IRC), in the #ubuntu-meeting channel on the Libera network. If you haven’t used IRC before, the easiest way to connect is to use a web client like KiwiIRC

Once you have a nickname on IRC, and your discourse post with all the testimonials you want, you have to add yourself to the next board meeting agenda that you can attend:

12:00 UTC Board

20:00 UTC Board

22:00 UTC Board

Add your name, your IRC nickname, and a link to your discourse post. We recommend that you add yourself to an agenda that is at least a week away so the board members can coordinate and make sure of maximum attendance. The board meetings can take up to an hour. If you’re looking at this and thinking about applying, go for it. If you’re reading this because you’re in the midst of applying, GOOD LUCK 😀

What does Ubuntu membership mean?

Becoming an Ubuntu member means a lot of things but they can all, more or less, be grouped into two categories, tangible and intangible things. The tangible things are perks and benefits of becoming a member that you and other people will be able to see and interact with. These are what normally bring people to the door. The intangible benefits are more emotional, more theoretical, more of a feeling but these are what make people stay. 

Tangible benefits

Intangible benefits

  • Ubuntu membership provides a recognition of significant, sustained, and continued contributions. Anyone in or around the community from across the world will see this and know. 
  • It gives you credibility within the community that you’re serious about your contributions 
  • Gives you clout/bragging rights within the larger world, since you essentially help make Ubuntu.
  • Acts as a commitment on the part of the community to engage and include the individual. Members help and encourage other members and other community people to apply
  • Gives you something to be proud of: being a member of a team of wonderful people around the world trying to make the world’s software better.
  • Your commitment gives credibility to the community, which will ensure it retains good people and makes the best out of still-limited training resources).
  • Membership means you can go out and claim Ubuntu loud and proud and come back into the community and have a say in making its future a better place. 

Summary

Becoming an official member of the Ubuntu community should be a labour of love, time, and effort; applying for membership, however, now takes three steps with more user-friendly options. Read and sign the CoC with a GPG key or a checkbox, create a Wiki page or public summary of your contributions on Discourse, and attend a meeting with the membership board. It’s as simple as we can make it for the moment but we are always looking to make it smoother. We want more people to join the community in this official capacity because 1. They get a bunch of cool stuff, and 2. Because we want to share the community feeling with everyone who shares our love and appreciation for Ubuntu and the world of open-source that it leads to.


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